Kishi Bashi released his first full-length album 151a via Joyful Noise in 2012, which received high praise and the title of NPR's "Best New Artist of The Year". K's follow-up album Lighght expanded his palette to include more diverse and nuanced instrumentation, flirting with Eastern-tinged arrangements, Philip Glass inspired improvisations, and 70s prog.
Kishi Bashi's third studio album, Sonderlust, is an album with a sound in a completely different direction. And it works. Full disclosure, I have been following K’s career since I first heard him on NPR’s “All Songs Considered” in 2012. I truly believe that he is the one of the greatest musicians that has come around in quite some time.
Thank you for coming back to Cincinnati! Personally, I have seen you play in town 4 times (5 if you count the VIP Session at Bunbury Music Festival). What keeps you coming back to our Queen City?
I always get the great feeling that Cincinnati really supports live music, so I’m always happy to play here! It’s close proximity to Kentucky also gives me the feeling that it’s kind of wild stepchild of Ohio, but a little bit safer.
Your live performances are full of energy, do you have to prep or are you just an energetic person?
I’m pretty much your average chilled out Asian guy, but my job as an entertainer requires me to be 110% engaged for 90 minutes or more a day. I almost always take a power nap before the show, and I think being a little buzzed masks the pain of fatigue. Also, eating healthy on the road is essential for me to not be groggy on stage.
Sonderlust has a different sound than Lighght, less dramatic and more dancey. Was that a conscious decision?
The sound for Sonderlust came about because I was simply uninspired by the violin/loop sounds that was much of the catalyst for my previous albums. Once I decided it was ok to take a chance (and potentially alienate some fans), I started to really enjoy chopping up samples and taking an electronic route.
Tell us about life on the road. I know after the Cincinnati shows you sometimes head out to Northside Tavern after. Any crazy stories?
The craziest thing that happened to me was one day I didn't drink after a show and I started to see everyone turn devolve into drunk zombies. I thought I was in the walking dead!
What is next for Kishi Bashi?
I'd like to perform with a symphony, and I'd also like to create a string quartet song cycle inspired by the Japanese Internment.